NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


January 12, 2005

Environmental activists and the media are at it again -- this time exploiting the recent tsunami tragedy as somehow the result of human-induced global warming. Nothing could be farther from the truth, says Steven Milloy, an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute.

Major earthquakes and tsunamis have occurred throughout history and long before the emission of industrial greenhouse gases, explains Milloy. Yet the media and environmentalists jump on these events to misinform and mislead. For example:

Myth: Earthquakes are caused by global warming,

Fact: Earthquakes are caused by the shifting of tectonic plates, and in fact, can alter the climate through changing ocean currents.

Myth: Rising sea levels caused by global warming contribute to the devastating effect of tsunamis.

Fact: The region where the tsunami had the most severe impact has experienced declining sea levels, according to 2001 satellite data.

Myth: Production of greenhouse gases through human activity will cause future tsunamis and other disasters.

Fact: Disasters prior to the industrial revolution, such as the Lisbon earthquake (1755), which killed 30,000 people, and a major earthquakes in 1883 that devastated the island of Krakatoa, were not the result of greenhouse gases.

The fact that so many people lost their lives in the tsunami is due to lack of economic development and no advanced early warning systems. Furthermore, survivors are at risk for malaria, which thanks to the environmental pressure to ban DDT, is now difficult to control, says Milloy.

Source: Editorial, "Cause and Effect," Investor's Business Daily, January 11, 2005. Steven Milloy, "Enviros Surf Tsunami Tragedy,", January 11, 2005.


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